Lopè Ariyo's Chicken Drumsticks

In Yoruba culture, parents aren’t called by their first names. Rather, they’re referred to as the mother or father of their firstborn – so in my mother’s case, Iya Lopè. Her approach to cooking has always been to create quick and easy dishes. When I was younger, we would go to the local video store on a Saturday night and choose a film to watch. When we got home, she would find whatever spices she could and create seasoning for chicken drumsticks to eat as we watched. No matter what she added, they were always so appetizing. She said her secret was to add lemon juice to the marinade, but I suspect there’s more to it than that. 


12 chicken drumsticks
parsley leaves, to serve

For the marinade:
1 tbsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp onion granules
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
Salt and cayenne pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC/Gas 6–7 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the shrimp paste, tamarind paste, lemon juice, onion and garlic granules, paprika, celery salt and cumin. Add the herbs to the marinade and taste for salt and cayenne pepper. Place the drumsticks into a large bowl and toss through the marinade. Once the chicken is well coated, place on to the baking tray and bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes, flipping over halfway.

3. When the chicken is well browned, and when pierced the juices run clear, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy while hot. If you have the patience, wait 5 minutes to allow the chicken to rest before digging in.

Recipe adapted from Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo, published by HarperCollins, 2017

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

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